AINsight: It’s Just a Hangover, Not the Flu

 - February 1, 2019, 10:29 AM

As a new year begins, I wanted to take the pulse of the preowned business jet market by reaching out to some of my closest colleagues. Every year, throughout much of January, the calls seem to be a little slower than normal. I typically attribute this to everyone shaking off the ride of the previous year and looking inward to their own personal and corporate priorities.

This year is no different, but the typical reasons are occurring in conjunction with a few other distractions and possible game changers that one could mistake for a possible flu. The partial U.S. government shutdown could certainly be billed as more than a distraction, the stock market volatility, and trade discussions with China seesawing are also creating conversation and concern.

What will these year’s opening events do to the confidence in and the certainty of our marketplace? Once all this clears up—and surely it will—is the underlying strength of our market still going be as strong of a foundation as we enjoyed over the last 24 months? My sense, and that of several of my colleagues that I have spoken to, is “Yes!”

What will be a bit different this coming year, and for a few years going forward, will be a bit more inventory for us to sell. New model deliveries are fueling this—Gulfstream G500s and G600s, Bombardier Global 7500s, and others from Dassault, Embraer, and Textron Aviation. This is actually going to be very positive for all of us as we work on our acquisition clients and the relinquishment of aircraft against these new deliveries.

The sheer lack of inventory that was created by high demand over the past 24 months made all of our jobs more difficult and the transaction often more problematic due to the exporting and importing of aircraft to satisfy our clients' and prospects' needs. This will be more of a trickling of new aircraft for resale and not wholesale dumping of new products into our market. This measured addition of product should blend nicely into for-sale totals and keep preowned jet pricing steady.

One important thing to consider and was reinforced as I made my calls to colleagues this week was that the strength we experienced over the past 12 months in terms of activity and pricing is not what we went through in the years leading up to 2008. We spent the last year with flat residual values, which I always said would feel like the new up. Unlike the runup to 2008, we never got to an unhealthy bubble with pricing where actual premiums were being paid for preowned aircraft. That is very positive and will protect us, even with a bit more inventory, from suffering huge corrections in pricing.

So, the bottom line is drink plenty of water, exercise, and smile. I do believe this hangover will go away quickly and you will not have a lingering flu. I look forward to continuing to celebrate a very solid and confident marketplace. Let’s find ways to talk more often, share market data more often, and be open to a growing year.

Jay Mesinger discovered a passion for flying when he was in high school. In college, he learned he had a gift for business. In 1982, he combined his love of flying with his business acumen to create what is now Mesinger Jet Sales.